Tuesday’s primary in Illinois ended with the wins of two men with racist pasts: Arthur Jones and J.B. Pritzker.
Jones, 70, who ran unopposed for the Republican seat in the state’s Third Congressional District race, was condemned by Republicans for being a Nazi, The New York Times reported. The Third Congressional District, which tends to be Democratic, includes part of Chicago and its suburbs.
Pritzker, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and a billionaire, has been heavily criticized for his previous remarks about Black politicians in an FBI wiretap conversation.
Looking into Jones’ past racist history, he was a former member of the American Nazi Party. Also, he has been active in the White supremacist movement for years, the NY Times report said. He founded a conservative campus newspaper and attended meetings of both the Young Republicans and a Nationalist Socialist student group at the University of Wisconsin.
“Arthur Jones is not a real Republican — he is a Nazi whose disgusting, bigoted views have no place in our nation’s discourse,” Tim Schneider, the Illinois Republican Party chairman, said to the Times.
Jones has also been referred to as a “Holocaust denier” on Twitter.
On the other hand, Pritzker, heir to a family fortune that includes ownership of the Hyatt Hotel chain, had the backing of the Democratic party. The billionaire businessman had put $70 million into his campaign, NY Magazine reported. But his riches have not overshadowed his past controversial missteps.
Pritzker had a taped conversation with former Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, having advised Blagojevich to appoint Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to a Senate seat because he was the “least offensive,” the Herald & Review reported. He reportedly told Blagojevich that he would be “covered on the whole African-American thing” if he did that. The conversation was part of a decade-old probe into Blagojevich, who was imprisoned for convictions that included “trying to trade an appointment to Barack Obama‘s vacated U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash.”
With regard to the other primary races, Chicago Representative Dan Lipinski defeated progressive business consultant Marie Newman by a very-tiny margin in the Third Congressional District.
Pritzker bested progressive state legislator Daniel Biss and political heir Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy. Both Biss and Kennedy “neatly split the anti-Pritzker vote,” according to NY Magazine. Also, the Republican governor primary saw incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner beat conservative opponent Jeanne Ives.
A lower-than-expected voter turnout prompted less than a third of registered voters in the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County to submit ballots, according to unofficial voter turnout information reported by The Chicago Tribune.